Neal is Director, Software Architect, and Meme Wrangler
at ThoughtWorks, a software company and a community of
passionate, purpose-led individuals, who thinks disruptively to
deliver technology to address the toughest challenges, all while
seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social
change. He is an internationally recognized expert on software
development and delivery, especially in the intersection of agile
engineering techniques and software architecture. Neal has authored
magazine articles, seven books (and counting), dozens of video
presentations, and spoken at hundreds of developers conferences
worldwide. His topics include software architecture, continuous
delivery, functional programming, cutting edge software innovations, and includes a business-focused book and video on improving technical presentations. Check out his web site at

Evolutionary Architectures

An evolutionary architecture supports incremental, guided change as a first principle along multiple dimensions.

For many years, software architecture was described as the “parts that are hard to change later”. But then microservices showed that if architects build evolvability into the architecture, change becomes easier. This talk, based on my upcoming book, investigates the family of software architectures that support evolutionary change, along with how to build evolvable systems. Understanding how to evolve architecture requires understanding how architectural dimensions interact; I describe how to achieve appropriate coupling between components and services. Incremental change is critical for the mechanics of evolution; I cover how to build engineering and DevOps practices to support continuous change. Uncontrolled evolution leads to undesirable side effects; I cover how fitness functions build protective, testable scaffolding around critical parts to guide the architecture as it evolves.

The software development ecosystem exists in a state of dynamic equilibrium, where any new tool, framework, or technique leads to disruption and the establishment of a new equilibrium. Predictability is impossible when the foundation architects plan against changes constantly in unexpected ways. Instead, prefer evolvability over predictability. This talk illustrates how to achieve evolutionary architectures and how to retrofit existing systems to support better evolution.

Why does Yesterday's Best Practice Become Tomorrow's Antipattern?

Modern software development exhibits a curious trend: Yesterday’s Best Practice Becomes Tomorrow’s Antipattern. Why? EJB and SOA were once Best Practices, now shunned as anti-patterns. This keynote investigates why this trend continues, including increased tech stack complexity, primordial abstraction ooze, code reuse abuse, strangling dependency management, and the fundamental dynamic equilibrium of the software development ecosystem. I also investigate How to Avoid Yesterday’s Best Practice from Becoming Tomorrow’s Antipattern, including domain centric architectures, immutabile infrastructure, evolutionary architecture, incremental architectural change, and how to favor evolvability over predictability. Also includes figurative and literal dumpster fires.